Woman jailed for £690,000 friendship con

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A STRATFORD-UPON-AVON woman conned nearly £690,000 from two victims who she had befriended online.

Caroline Nightingale, 45, of Sandpiper Close, persuaded her victims to give her the money to resolve family emergencies, and even posed as a relative to tell one of her victims she had died.

One of her victims, who lived in Warwickshire, handed her £512,380 over four years from March 2011 and August 2015.

She also defrauded a second person, from Great Manchester, conning them out of £177,474 between January 2011 and September 2015.

At Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday, she was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud.

The court heard that Nightingale befriended the victims on line and met only one of them occasionally early on in the relationship.

Over a period of time she created characters, pretending that they were family members, and invented domestic situations  that could only be resolved by cash being loaned to her.

The fraud included Nightingale pretending that she had died from cancer and the continuing correspondence purported to be from close family relatives.

Warwickshire Police Staff Investigator, Dominic Kennedy, said: “These were heartless crimes which show how easy it is for people to be taken in by online sob stories.

“Warwickshire Police takes fraud of all kinds very seriously and will always strive to bring offenders to justice.”

As well as the prison sentence Nightingale was also made subject  to a Confiscation Order.